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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Tennessee

Monday, March 31, 2014

Johnny Wayne Neeley Sentenced To Serve 96 Months In Prison For Conspiring To Distribute Oxycodone

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – Johnny Wayne Neeley, 39, of Sneedville, Tenn., was sentenced on Mar. 31, 2014, by the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, U.S. District Court Judge, to serve 96 months in federal prison for conspiring to distribute oxycodone and possessing with intent to distribute oxycodone. Upon his release from prison, Neeley will be subject to three years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

In October 2012, Neeley and 11 other individuals were named in an 18-count indictment charging them with drug trafficking of oxycodone, oxymorphone, and methamphetamine, firearms violations, and money laundering. The charges were the result of a lengthy investigation of individuals who traveled to Florida, Tennessee, and Georgia to obtain oxycodone and other drugs to distribute throughout eastern Tennessee. The total conspiracy involved over 778,000 milligrams of oxycodone, which is the equivalent of nearly 26,000 dose units of 30 milligram oxycodone.

Neeley was the only individual charged in the indictment who elected to proceed to trial. According to the evidence presented at trial, Neeley paid for, or “sponsored, individuals to travel on commercial airlines to pill mills in Tampa, Fla., to obtain oxycodone for distribution in the Eastern District of Tennessee. He also paid for, or “sponsored,” individuals to travel to pill mills in the Eastern District of Tennessee to obtain oxycodone for distribution. Evidence at trial also showed that Neeley himself distributed controlled substances, including oxycodone, Xanax, and Suboxone, in the Eastern District of Tennessee on numerous occasions. Several officers testified about the October 2012 arrest of Neeley and Greg Rhea, at Rhea’s Morristown residence, where the two were found barricaded inside a room in the house, which was found to contain controlled substances, including oxycodone and oxymorphone, and three firearms.

All 12 individuals charged in the indictment have now been convicted and Neeley was the next to last to be sentenced. A sentencing hearing for Gregory Allen Rhea is scheduled for April 14, 2014, in U.S. District Court, Greeneville, Tenn.

U.S. Attorney William C. Killian commended the law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation and stated, “The U.S. Attorney’s office will continue to work closely with all law enforcement agencies to cut off the illegal supply lines of oxycodone and other prescription narcotics. This sentence is an example of the punishment that awaits those who traffic prescription drugs and the ‘pill mills’ that supply criminal organizations.”

Agencies involved in this investigation included the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Morristown Police Department, and Hawkins County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Kerney-Quillen represented the United States.

Updated March 18, 2015